Roommates can be hell on earth for the introvert


When I was getting ready to go to college, the one thing I was not all excited about was “the dorm” and “I can’t wait to meet my roommate!” I had no idea that I was an introvert, but I knew I needed my alone time, and I especially knew that there are some people I can only take so much of. What if the luck of the draw assigned me to live with such a person?! Yet I knew something “must be wrong with me,” because I really wanted no part of anything I was hearing about “dorm life” or “You’ll miss all the fun!” In fact, I know a few introverts and parents of introverts now – both my own age and young ones – who firmly believe that the way to “snap out of” introversion is to move into dorms and learn to swim in the social sea.

When the time came for me to go to university, I was very fortunate; I lived about 30 miles from the large city where I would go to school, so I decided to just carpool into town with my dad each day. I did miss out on a lot of things, but I liked getting into college life gradually. I went to class, and a lot of people befriended me. A lot of very nice people. And I’d enjoy talking to them and maybe studying with them a bit, then when my dad would arrive after his work day, I’d go home. It took about a year before I began to yearn to stay there on campus all the time. I was meeting enough people one-on-one and hearing about things that were going on at night, and I confess, I also got a major crush on a guy who was a year ahead of me, that I really wanted to live on campus. So after my second year of college, I applied for housing and got it.

At the beginning of my junior year, I moved in, and fortunately since I really felt at home at my large, comfortably anonymous yet familiar university, I did not feel dread. Now instead I had a new feeling – I wanted to keep my roommate at arms’ length. After all, if you start out too friendly, inviting her to go everywhere with you, how are you ever going to withdraw from that if you decide she is just too much? So I tiptoed into the edge of having a roommate, always pleasant but never overly friendly, and after about two months I felt comfortable enough with her to invite her along with a couple of guys and me to a concert, and to later share with her my excitement because my crush had finally asked me out. She was not annoying or pushy at all. But I’ve seen plenty of people who are, and I don’t know how I would have tolerated it if I’d allowed one of them into my inner circle. πŸ™‚

Nowadays, I think universities have detailed questionnaires for housing applicants so that they can try to place them with someone compatible. I don’t know how often they actually bother to match properly – do engineering students still end up having to put up with party animals? But if you are a young introvert, feel free to go as slowly as you like when it comes to campus life. Don’t isolate yourself, of course, but don’t push yourself into things you know you will hate. Relax and find things you genuinely enjoy doing. Look around for people who are like you – I found plenty of people who were fun yet not annoying, and quietly friendly, just like I like. I had a wonderful time at college, but it wasn’t because I forced myself into a mold that wasn’t right for me. I’m an introvert, and I need my space.

Photo credit: No Pants Day



  1. When I hear ‘you’ll miss all the fun’ or ‘it’s fun’, I just want to puke.

    I think the last paragraph hits the nail on the head. If an introvert wants to do something extroverted, they have to be able to do it at their own speed.
    This is one thing extroverts truly forgets. They think everyone thinks 100% the same as them, and get really rude about it when you’re trying to please them in your own speed.

    I remember when I lived in the Netherlands. When I first moved there I was placed in a share house. It was three guys and me. Two of them were really nice, but the third one was odd. Well, all of us found him odd. Still, even if I enjoyed being with these guys, I was so happy when I got my own apartment. It was only me being there. I had full control of people coming and going (only my neighbour stopped by now and then), and it was silence everyday.

    • Yes, no matter how much you like your roommates, having a space that’s all yours is the best of all. Having silence when you need it is so important – yet it is a luxury many introverts unfortunately don’t have!

  2. As an introvert, I definitely struggled with having to live in a dorm at college. I had roommates most of the time that I was at college, and out of all of the roommates I had, I only really liked two of them. I liked one of them because I think that she was an introvert as well, and we had similar personalities. We had conversations and shared a lot about ourselves but there were also quiet times when we would just watch tv and do our work without saying much to each other. It worked out really well with that particular roommate. The other roommate I liked was also an introvert. Her personality was a bit different than mine, and I did find some things annoying about her, as I’m sure she found some things annoying about me, but overall, it wasn’t a bad rooming experience. But I did have one roommate who was quite nosey. She was friendly and we got along for a while, but after a while, I just couldn’t deal with her anymore. She would make little comments about the things I did and I always felt like she was watching me do things in order to make a comment. By the end of that year, she and I weren’t on speaking terms. It was an uncomfortable experience having to share the dorm room with her, but I wasn’t able to afford a single room, so I had to stick it out until the end of the school year. By my senior year of college, I got a single room and I really liked that. I finally had privacy and didn’t have to worry about accomodating the needs of a roommate. I could do what I wanted without worrying about getting a complaint from a roommate.

    • Oh I am seething thinking of that nosey roommate! If there’s one thing I despise it’s to be watched like that. What a sheer hell and I’m glad you are out of it now! That single room is something I always fantasized about when in college but there was no such thing where I was.

      JW I really appreciate your comment! I hope introverts are are entering college or in college will take the time to read it, because I’m sure they will relate to it.

  3. Pingback: Don’t analyze an introvert or make him the center of attention β€” Introvert Zone

  4. Uhh is watching people and anaylsing them and things in general something that introverts do in general? I am an introvert and while I dont comment on stuff I do watch and try to figure other people out.

    • I do know some introverts who watch and analyze people, but I don’t do much of that myself. I notice things (mood, etc.) about people who I deal with, but if I’m not dealing with someone directly then I’m mostly in my own world. I have a coworker who’s a “thinking” rather than “feeling” introvert and he often talks about, “It’s fun to watch…” another coworker in some situation. Me? I have better things to watch. πŸ™‚

      • I love analyzing people too!!!!! but dont you dare analyze me. i dont like it when someone is staring at me. mind your own business….lol jk

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